Shape magazine's August issue reveals the most popular fitness role model in the 2002 Reader's Choice Awards, and it's not Britney Spears. According to Shape readers, Madonna still reigns supreme--at least when it comes to fitness. Shape Editor in Chief Barbara Harris said staffers were not surprised that the 43-year-old star topped this year's list. "She's a great example of today's fit woman because she has a clear sense of herself and she continues to find ways to incorporate working out and staying centered into her busy lifestyle," Harris said. Rounding out this year's favorite fitness role models are Gabrielle Reese, Jennifer Lopez, Cindy Crawford, Oprah Winfrey, Halle Berry and Angelina Jolie.
Actor Robert Wagner, who starred in the popular TV series Switch, It Takes a Thief and Hart to Hart, gets a star on Hollywood's Walk of Fame today. Wagner, who was twice married to actress Natalie Wood, reprises his role as Number Two in the second Austin Powers sequel Austin Powers in Goldmember, which opens July 26.
Actress Michelle Johnson filed for a divorce from Arizona Diamondbacks third baseman Matt Williams Monday. The actress starred in the 1984 film Blame It on Rio and also appeared in the 2000 football film The Replacements. The two were married Jan. 15, 1999.
Director Sam Raimi is not going mainstream following the monster success of the live-action hit Spider-Man. According to Variety, Raimi will helm 30 Days of Night, based on a comic book series about vampires who invade a small Alaskan town near the Arctic Circle that spends nearly a month in darkness. Raimi will also produce the project with Rob Tapert.
Funnymen Jim Carrey and Garry Shandling will lend their voices to DreamWorks' animated feature Over the Hedge, based on a popular comic strip by Michael Fry and T. Lewis. Carrey will voice the mischievous raccoon R.J., while Shandling will voice the sensitive turtle Verne, Variety reports. The film, targeted for 2005, will be directed by Antz's Tim Johnson.
Jack Black will play a musician who becomes a substitute teacher in a snooty private school in Paramount Picture's School of Rock, slated for release next summer, Variety reports. The comedy will reteam Black with Orange County producer Scott Rudin and scribe Mike White. No director is attached to the project yet.
The creator of Buffy the Vampire Slayer tells Sci Fi Wire that he's willing to continue the show after next year, even if star Sarah Michelle Gellar decides not to renew her contract, which expires at the end of year seven. "I'm game for almost anything," Joss Whedon said when asked if the show would go on without Gellar. "It's an incredibly strong ensemble. It's a very strong mythos. It's a huge universe we've created and an incredible cast of actors. So there are definitely opportunities for different kinds of shows."
CNN has signed a deal with Jon Stewart to produce a half-hour comedy show through CNN International, The Associated Press reports. Stewart, who hosts The Daily Show joked with reporters, "CNN has bought the show. I really don't know why. I'm not sure they realize we're actually making fun of them."
On Sept. 24 Miramax Films will release a two-disc DVD set of the Beatles' A Hard Days Night. According to Variety, the DVD will have six hours of bonus features, including most of the 30 interviews conducted by Beatles historian Martin Lewis, producer of Give Me Everything! A Companion Anthology to the Beatles.
Woody Allen's new comedy Hollywood Ending will open the Cannes Film Festival on May 15, and the veteran American director will be attending the festivities for the first time. Other Allen films, such as Manhattan and Hannah and Her Sisters, have been shown at the festival but the usually press-shy Allen has never made an appearance.
"Over the last few years, they have invited me so many times that I now want to offer them something in return: I will therefore come personally to present my film Hollywood Ending, which I think will be perfect for the event," Allen said in a statement, Reuters reported. The film stars Allen, Tea Leoni, Tiffani-Amber Thiessen, George Hamilton and Treat Williams.
The employees of The Tonight Show with Jay Leno got a nice surprise before Monday's taping: $1,000 for each year he/she worked on the show, Variety reported. Leno just wanted them all to know how much he appreciated them. That's mighty nice of him. The show will celebrate its 10th anniversary May 23 and NBC is airing a special one-hour special April 30 at 10 p.m.
Want to know even more about "Ginger" Spice, aka Geri Halliwell? Yeah, well, neither do we, but apparently someone does. Britain's Mirror reported she has signed a deal to write a second autobiography for $719,000, detailing her life after leaving the Spice Girls. Her first book If Only, talked about her childhood and her years with the girl pop band.
Robin Wright Penn has joined Robert Downey Jr. in the film The Singing Detective, with producer Mel Gibson also taking a small role. The film, a remake of the popular BBC television mini-series, centers on a invalid (Downey) whose sickly hallucinations have him creating an alternative reality where he is fighting Nazis in the 1940s.
Matt Damon going on stage. The handsome actor be performing in the London West End production of This Is Our Youth, along with fellow actors Casey Affleck (what? No Ben?) and Summer Phoenix. This threesome will be taking over from Anna Paquin, Hayden Christensen and Jake Gyllenhaal on April 22.
The CBS Survivor team want to use Thailand's Tartutao Islands for the next series, despite some resistance from environmentalists, who claim TV production may further disrupt the region's ecological system. Several environmental groups blame the 1999 film The Beach, which filmed on a Thai island, for causing extensive damage there. The Thai government, however, has told Reuters they are in the final stages of approving CBS' request.
Michael Nader, who played the suave Count Dimitri on ABC's All My Children for nearly 10 years, is suing ABC for breach of contract. The actor has been off the show since February 2001, when he claims in his suit he became ill and needed medical treatment. His suit alleges that ABC refused to allow him to come back to work and would not let him out of his contract. Nader was also sentenced to three years probation for possession of a controlled substance in May 2001.
Heavy mental rocker Ozzy Osbourne and President George Bush will dine together. Apparently, the president has become a big fan of the MTV reality show The Osbournes, which follows the lives of Osbourne and his family, and wants to meet the singer. Ah, to be a fly on the wall at that meeting.
In the latest on the air rage trial of R.E.M. guitarist Peter Buck, prosecutor David Bate is claiming Buck is lying about what happened to save face. Hmmm. Is there any other reason to lie? Buck has maintained his innocence, blaming a bad reaction from a sleeping pill and several glasses of red wine. He does not recall his alleged actions.
French-Canadian superstar Celine Dion has still got it. Her newest album New Day Has Come sold more than half a million copies its first week in the stores, shooting it to No. 1 on the charts. Well done, Celine.
Country singer Garth Brooks and R&B king Stevie Wonder will be honored by the Songwriters Hall of Fame at their induction and awards ceremony June 13. Wonder will be receiving a lifetime achievement award, while Brooks will pick up the Hitmaker Award.
Remember Bob Newhart? The Kennedy Center hasn't forgotten the TV and film comedian; they've awarded him their fifth annual Mark Twain prize for American humor. Newhart told the Associated Press, "Mark Twain once said, 'It is strange the way the ignorant and inexperienced so often and so undeservedly succeed when the informed and the experienced fail,' which is certainly true in this case."
The irreverant Laugh-In hosts Dick Martin and the late Dan Rowan finally get their own stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. The 80-year-old Martin accepted the honor Tuesday (Rowan died in 1987), and on hand were Laugh-In castmates Lily Tomlin, Henry Gibson, Arte Johnson, Ruth Buzzi, Gary Owens and Jo Anne Worley.
This film is based on Elegy for Iris literary critic John Bayley's biography of his late wife the brilliant writer and philosopher Iris Murdoch. Iris is unconventional in the sense that it does not adhere to a structured plot or story line but instead focuses on their relationship by flashing back and forth between the present and 40 years ago when the two first met. In the sequences taking place in the past Kate Winslet plays a young confident Murdoch in her formative years a woman revered by men and openly bisexual. Hugh Bonneville plays the young and apprehensive Bayley hopelessly pursuing her. The present however reveals a drastic role reversal for the couple: We see Murdoch in her 70s as played by Judi Dench and witness her descent into Alzheimer's disease and the toll it takes on her husband played by Jim Broadbent. The once-subservient husband has been thrust into a caretaker position and painfully tries to cope with his beloved wife's illness and loss of sanity.
Dench deservedly received a best actress Oscar nomination for the fabulous job she does as the older Murdoch. She is convincing as a brilliant thinker and even more believable as her condition worsens--check out the heartbreaking scene when Bayley locks himself in the study to get away from her irrational behavior and she scratches the windowpane on the glass door like a cat while looking at her husband with utter helplessness. Dench conveys her character's vulnerability in a single glance. As an older Bayley Broadbent is as impressive as Dench especially as he struggles to be assertive yet avoid being too harsh. Bonneville as a young Bayley could almost be Broadbent's clone. At first glance he looks like the same actor made to look older through some sort of makeup or special effects wizardry. Bonneville skillfully hatches the young Bayley's traits and tics later perfected by Broadbent. Winslet also Oscar-nominated for Iris (in the supporting actress category) well plays Murdoch's early audacity and boldness.
Director Richard Eyre does a beautiful and seamless job flowing from the past to the present throughout the film. Although the film barely delves into Murdoch's work the importance of her writing is established with scenes from a BBC interview or a luncheon given in her honor. Eyre also does an exceptional job conveying Bayley's hopeless predicament: he fusses over Murdoch like an overprotective parent intermittently lashing out at her only to apologize sobbing afterward for having done so. It's sweet and pitiful especially since Bayley believes that the Iris he fell in love with is still in there somewhere. But while the film is visually exquisite and convincing the subject matter is not necessarily entertaining. We know Murdoch will eventually succumb to her illness but it's even more dreadful to have to watch every agonizing step. By the time Murdoch was reduced to playing in the dirt and watching Teletubbies I found myself wondering When is she going to die already?
Bobby Garfield (David Morse) returns to his small hometown to attend the funeral of his childhood friend and remembers the fateful summer in 1960 when his whole world changed. The story flashes back to when 11-year-old Bobby (Anton Yelchin) and his best friends Carol (Mika Boorem) and Sully-John (Will Rothhaar) capture the pure joy of youthfulness. When a mysterious stranger named Ted Brautigan (Anthony Hopkins) moves upstairs and starts to pay attention to Bobby the boy suddenly realizes what's truly missing from his life--the love of a parent. Bobby's mother Liz (Hope Davis) is embittered by the death of Bobby's father and shows little compassion for her son's growing needs. Ted fills a void with the boy opening his eyes to the world around him and helps Bobby come to terms with his real feelings for Carol--and his mother. But Ted also has some deep dark secrets of his own and Bobby tries hard to stop danger from reaching the old man.
The performances make the film especially in the genuine camaraderie of the kids. Yelchin Boorem and Rothhaar never deliver a false move with an easiness that makes us believe we are simply watching three 11-year-old children grow up together. Yelchin in particular is able to get right to the heart of this young boy who misses his father and clings to the only adult who will listen. And his scenes with Boorem simply break your heart. (Davis) does an admirable job playing a part none too sympathetic. She manages to show a woman whose been beaten down but who does truly love her son in her own way. Morse too is one of those character actors you can plug in any movie and get a performance worth noting. In Hearts you want to see more of him. Of course the film shines brightest when Hopkins is on the screen. It may not be an Oscar-caliber performance but the actor is unparalleled in bringing a character to life--showing the subtleties of an old man looking for some peace in his life.
If you are expecting the Stephen King novel you may be disappointed. Screenwriter William Goldman and director Scott Hicks (Shine) deftly extracted the King formula of telling a story through a child's eye and explaining how the relationships formed as a child shaped the adult later. Hicks did an amazing job with his young actors especially Yelchin and Boorem. But where the novel continued into a supernatural theme explaining Brautigan's fear of being captured by "low men in yellow coats" (a reference to King's The Dark Tower series) the movie downplayed the mystical elements instead giving real explanations for Brautigan's man-on-the-run. That was the one problem with Hearts--we needed more danger. Introducing men from another dimension may not have been the way to go but had there been more tension the film would have resonated more especially when Bobby risked his own safety to save Ted.
Supermania has arrived, and it's good news for comic book fans. The phenomenal opening-weekend success of "X-Men" undoubtedly means that lots more superhero movies are on the way.
With that in mind, Hollywood.com has compiled a list of some of the most talked-about comic book movies on the horizon, and their current production status:
"Spider-Man" According to recent trade reports, Columbia Pictures is expected to announce within a few weeks the name of the actor who'll play the red-and-blue-suited wall-walker from the classic Marvel comic book. Director Sam Raimi plans to finish this one in time for a fall 2001 release.
"Superman Reborn" Word on the street has it that Warner Bros. is close to reviving this project, which has been on and off again over the past several years and has already gone through one director (Tim Burton) and several screenwriters. Warners is said to be pleased with the new screenplay by Bill Wisher, and the candidate for Most Unlikely to Direct is ... Oliver Stone. The Hollywood Reporter printed a story earlier this year saying Stone is the No. 1 candidate for the job, and the studio wants to take a nontraditional approach to America's most traditional superhero, "sans the tights and more 'Matrix'-like."
"Daredevil" According to a report in Daily Variety this week, Mark Steven Johnson ( "Simon Birch", "Grumpy Old Men) will probably write and direct this Marvel Comics-based story of a blind criminal defense attorney who dresses up like a demon by night and stalks the city for criminals using his radar-like, radioactivity-enhanced senses to detect danger and evildoers. The movie will be distributed by Fox, the same studio that did "X-Men."
"Captain America" A low-budget film about this Nazi-fighting superhero starring Matt Salinger was released a while back but now Marvel Comics wants to do a blockbuster version. And the man they want to play Cap is none other than Tom Cruise. Avi Avrad, the head honcho at the comics publisher, recently told Cinescape Online, "First, we have to do the script, and then we will send it to him. ... We don't want to go with an unknown. Captain America is too visible a character. It's definitely going to be someone high profile."
But wait, there's more: Other popular titles that have been optioned, and are wallowing in various stages of development hell, include "Iron Man," the story of a billionaire inventor whose red-and-gold metallic suit not only gives him superpowers but also keeps his damaged heart ticking; there is talk at Warners about making "Batman 5," and "Pi" director Darren Aronofsky was recently rumored to be a candidate for the job; and there have been rumblings about movie versions of "The Incredible Hulk," "Doctor Strange" and "Silver Surfer, to name but a few.